Intelligence Panel Adopts Democrats’ Report: Impeachment Update

Steven T. Dennis and Billy House

(Bloomberg) -- The House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday released its report on the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, a day before the House Judiciary Committee holds its first hearing on constitutional issues. The report is here.

Here are the latest developments:

Intelligence Panel Adopts Democrats’ Report (6:54 p.m.)

The Intelligence Committee adopted the Democratic majority’s report on a party-line 13-9 vote Tuesday evening.

Committee Republicans will have two days to submit their version, and after that Chairman Adam Schiff will send the material to the Judiciary Committee.

Records of Giuliani Calls Cited in Report (3:28 p.m.)

The report puts Trump personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani at the center of a scheme to force out the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and pressure that country’s government to investigate Joe Biden’s family and a conspiracy theory that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 U.S. election.

The House obtained AT&T call records showing Giuliani in contact with phone numbers associated with the White House, the Office of Management and Budget, top Intelligence Committee Republican Devin Nunes, and Giuliani associate Lev Parnas. The report doesn’t say who in the White House or OMB participated in the calls.

The calls and texts were made during the time period when Giuliani was publicly discussing his efforts to pursue investigations into the Bidens and a conspiracy theory about Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election.

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said the call records show that “there was considerable coordination among the parties including the White House” in a smear campaign against then-U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch.

The committee also found Giuliani in contact on Aug. 8 with phone numbers associated with the White House amid negotiations with Ukrainian officials about announcing investigations. The records also showed European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland in contact with White House and OMB phone numbers on Aug. 9.

One of the Sondland calls came minutes before a text message he sent saying that he thought Trump strongly wanted the “deliverable.” Sondland later said that referred to an announcement by Ukraine of investigations sought by Trump and Giuliani.

McConnell Seeks Bipartisan Plan for Trial (3:03 p.m.)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters he will seek to reach an agreement with top Democrat Chuck Schumer on procedures for any impeachment trial of Trump.

If that option fails, McConnell said, he’ll work toward an agreement among Senate Republicans, who could use their majority to set the ground rules.

Schumer said he hasn’t discussed the matter with McConnell but he hopes for a bipartisan solution. -- Teaganne Finn

Trump Aides Helped With Scheme, Report Says (2:40 p.m.)

The report implicates Trump’s executive branch subordinates in helping to further his Ukraine “scheme.”

It said his “closest subordinates and advisers,” including acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, then-Energy Secretary Rick Perry and other officials, “had knowledge of, in some cases facilitated and furthered the president’s scheme, and withheld information about the scheme from the Congress and the American public,” the report states. -- Billy House

White House Says No Evidence of Misconduct (2:29 p.m.)

White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said in a statement, “The Democrats utterly failed to produce any evidence of wrongdoing by President Trump.”

“This report reflects nothing more than their frustrations,” Grisham said. “Chairman Schiff’s report reads like the ramblings of a basement blogger straining to prove something when there is evidence of nothing.”

Chairmen Say Decision Is Up to Congress (2:14 p.m.)

Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney and Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel said in a joint statement that “it will be up to the Congress to determine whether these acts rise to the level of an impeachable offense.”

The impeachment report said that Trump “became the author of his own impeachment inquiry” by “doubling down on his misconduct” and declaring that his July 25 call with Ukraine’s president was “perfect.” -- Billy House

Report Cites ‘Clear and Present Danger’ (2:06 p.m.)

Among its “key findings of fact,” the report said that “faced with the revelation of his actions, President Trump publicly and repeatedly persisted in urging foreign governments, including Ukraine and China, to investigate his political opponent.”

“This continued solicitation of foreign interference in a U.S. election presents a clear and present danger that the president will continue to use the power of his office for his personal political gain,” it said. -- Billy House

Trump Harmed National Security, Report Says (1:59 p.m.)

Trump compromised national security and intimidated and tampered with actual and prospective witnesses, the impeachment report said.

The inquiry “uncovered a months-long effort by President Trump to use the powers of his office to solicit foreign interference on his behalf in the 2020 election,” the report said.

“Using the power of the office of the president, and exercising his authority over the executive branch, President Trump ordered and implemented a campaign to conceal his conduct from the public and frustrate and obstruct the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry,” it said. -- Billy House

Intelligence Panel Releases Trump Report (1:52 p.m.)

The House Intelligence Committee released its report on the investigation of Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. The report is here.

Trump Says He Wants Top Officials to Testify (11:05 a.m.)

Trump said he wants top administration officials including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to testify in the impeachment inquiry, but only during a Senate trial.

“I want them to testify but I want them to testify in the Senate,” Trump told reporters during a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the sidelines of a NATO summit in London on Tuesday.

Trump has refused to allow administration officials to testify to House committees conducting the inquiry.

Trudeau sat quietly for several minutes as Trump angrily defended himself, again insisting that his July 25 call with Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Zelenskiy was “perfect.” The call touched off a whistle-blower complaint that Trump had abused his power by asking Zelenskiy to investigate his political rivals.

The president lashed out again at House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, who is leading the current phase of the probe, calling him a “maniac” and a “deranged human being.” -- Jordan Fabian

Democrats Take Aim at Trump Defense (11:05 a.m.)

Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee took aim at key elements of Trump’s potential impeachment defense, including the claim by some Republicans that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 U.S. election.

During a hearing on U.S. policy toward Russia, top committee Democrat Bob Menendez asked State Department official David Hale, “Are you aware of any evidence Ukraine interfered in the 2016 U.S. election?”

“I am not,” Hale said, adding later that it would be to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s advantage to push the narrative that Ukraine, not Russia, meddled in the U.S. vote.

Hale also told Senator Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat, that Russia is continuing to try to interfere in U.S. elections.

Senator Chris Murphy, who traveled to Ukraine earlier this year, asked Hale whether it was U.S. policy to investigate cybersecurity company CrowdStrike or the connections of former Vice President Joe Biden’s family to Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings, as Trump pressed Ukraine’s president to do.

Murphy of Connecticut also asked Hale whether Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani was currently involved in any diplomatic discussions with Ukraine. Hale said Giuliani was not.

“Part of the defense of the president’s actions will be that those requests were in fact appropriate,” Murphy said. “It’s relevant that since the uncovering of those demands have been made, they are no longer part of official U.S. policy.” -- Daniel Flatley

White House Counsel to Join Senate GOP Lunch (10:13 a.m.)

White House Counsel Pat Cipollone plans to join Senate Republicans during their lunch meeting on Wednesday, the same day the House Judiciary Committee will hold its first hearing on the impeachment inquiry.

“As part of an ongoing effort to keep Senate Republicans informed about White House thinking, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone will attend this Wednesday’s steering lunch,” said Conn Carroll, a spokesman for Senator Mike Lee of Utah.

Cipollone has been playing a leading role in reaching out to senators in recent weeks, including a meeting late last month at the White House with Senate GOP allies of Trump to discuss how long an impeachment trial might last. Those attending included Senators John Kennedy of Louisiana, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Ted Cruz of Texas.

Cipollone previously informed House Democrats that Trump’s team wouldn’t take part in the initial hearing. -- Laura Litvan

Catch Up on Impeachment Coverage

Key Events

The House Judiciary Committee will hear on Wednesday from Harvard law professor Noah Feldman, Stanford law professor Pamela Karlan, University of North Carolina law professor Michael Gerhardt and George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley. Feldman is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist.A report by GOP lawmakers said the Democratic-led House investigation of Trump failed to establish any impeachable offenses and instead paints a picture of “unelected bureaucrats” disagreeing with the president’s style, world view and foreign policy decisions.Gordon Sondland’s transcript is here and here; Kurt Volker’s transcript is here and here. Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch’s transcript is here and here; the transcript of Michael McKinley, former senior adviser to the secretary of State, is here. The transcript of Holmes, a Foreign Service officer in Kyiv, is here.The transcript of William Taylor, the top U.S. envoy to Ukraine, is here and here. State Department official George Kent’s testimony is here and here. Testimony by Alexander Vindman can be found here, and the Hill transcript is here. Laura Cooper’s transcript is here; Christopher Anderson’s is here and Catherine Croft’s is here. Jennifer Williams’ transcript is here and Timothy Morrison’s is here. Philip Reeker transcript is here. Mark Sandy’s is here.

--With assistance from Laura Litvan, Daniel Flatley, Jordan Fabian, Steven T. Dennis and Teaganne Finn.

To contact the reporters on this story: Steven T. Dennis in Washington at sdennis17@bloomberg.net;Billy House in Washington at bhouse5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at jsobczyk@bloomberg.net, Laurie Asséo

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